General, Trading Standards

Consumer champions stop £40,000 being handed to rogue traders

Surrey County Council trading standards’ Steve Playle

Consumer champions have stopped rogue traders ripping off unsuspecting victims to the tune of almost £40,000 in a year.

Surrey County Council Trading Standards’ rapid action team prevented victims – many of them vulnerable – being conned out of £38,000 in the last financial year.

It took the total the team has stopped people handing over to crooked doorstep sellers in the decade since forming to well over £1 million.

Surrey’s team is on alert to provide a fast response to anyone who suspects they are being conned by doorstep callers.

The news came as a trading standards survey revealed that a drive to deter dodgy sellers from approaching front doors in the first place is working.

It showed that 90% of households displaying a ‘no cold calling’ sticker carrying a legal warning saw a drop in the number of doorstep sellers.

Around 100,000 of the stickers have been distributed and more than half of people displaying the notice were aged over 60.

The campaign’s success also means that large sums of money potentially earmarked to pay for shoddy work has been saved.

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services Helyn Clack said: “Unscrupulous doorstep sellers often target the most vulnerable people in society. The success of our rapid action team and sticker campaign show the lengths we’ll go to prevent the misery they cause them and others.

“Preventing almost £40,000 lining the pockets of crooked callers in a year is fantastic and I’m sure our efforts to deter the likes of dodgy roofers and dishonest salesmen from knocking on doors has stopped people handing over tens of thousands of pounds more in that time.”

Since the team was formed in 2003, it has worked closely with Surrey Police by sharing intelligence and expertise, which has led to joint prosecutions in the courts. It can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06.

No cold calling stickers can be picked up for free at local council offices, libraries and police stations. They can also be downloaded by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk and searching for ‘doorstep sticker’.

To read the full report about the sticker campaign visit Surrey County Council’s website.

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